Archive for May, 2013

 

Plight of the homeless

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San Diego Veteran Stand Down 2012

San Diego Veteran Stand Down 2012

It’s sometime strange how things seem to come in sets of threes. This week, for some unknown reason, the homeless have popped into my life in several different ways. Although, I am very aware of the increased amount of homeless people and in many ways try to do my part in being part of a solution in helping the homeless, most of the time it seems like an impossible dream with no solutions.

I wish I had some profound idea of how to deal with the problem, but like most of us, I do not, other than being aware and helping where I see I can.

San Diego has the third largest population of homeless people in the nation, falling short of Los Angeles and New York. Though the majority of the more than 10,000 homeless in San Diego, 10 percent live in the streets, under the bypasses and in the canyons of El Cajon.

Many people simply turn a blind eye to this ever-growing problem, but it is not a problem that will go away. As a point of fact, it will only grow. The numbers of runaway teens and veterans coming back that have trouble integrating back to civilian life are amplifying the problem at an alarming rate.

It is estimated that cost of doing nothing at all will be $1.5 billion over the next 15 years, and that is our tax dollars. There has to be a better way in being proactive than dealing with the reactive costs of homelessness.

To me, it is apparent that this is not something that we can leave in the hands of our legislatures, for they seldom seem to agree long enough to get much accomplished. More and more, I become aware that this is a community problem, therefore, it should be a community solution.

We cannot let our representatives off the hook, so first we need to let them know from city, county, state and national levels that we are aware of the problem and need to find solutions. But that is not enough–it is time to get involved.

There are many organizations within reach our all of our neighborhoods that help shelter, clothe and feed the homeless. Take some time to get to know these services, find the one that suits you the best, and then do whatever you can in you power to help. If you have money, donate, if you have clothes that you no longer use, give them out, if you can spare time, donate a day-there is plenty to do and the resources are right around the corner.

I’m cleaning out my closet now to donate to this year’s Veteran’s Stand Down, also an event I volunteer for every year. It might not seem like much, but if we all chip in a small part of our lives, we might be able to change one life at a time.

I’ve seen many programs like this and they do work, but they need the support of the community in order to take one less teenager, veteran or unemployed from having to live in their cars, on the streets or camping in our canyons and parks.

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Calling all musicians

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DSC_0100Spring is in full swing and there is music in the air, and it is not just the birds doing the singing.

I am amazed as I go around East County at the tremendous talent that it has to offer. From preschoolers to the old school, my musical appetite is enjoying a buffet of talent from every corner of our community.

A true lover of music, if you listen to one of my personal mixes you will find everything in there from boot-scootin’ country, classical violin, to heavy rock-n-roll. And to many people’s surprise when they look at my CD collection, I have every CD from The Black Eyed Peas.

My musical diversity comes from living in a very large family with my sibling spread apart by a few years.

Through my grandparents, from Tennessee, along with my parents, I learned to love the sound of country at a very young age. My father was into big bands, and remember a lot of Glenn Miller, my mother loved Pat Boone and all of the crooners of their day.

I learned the sound of the 50’s and The King from my oldest sister, the later softer pop of the Carpenters and Simon and Garfunkel through my brother, my other older sister introduced me (or I took her 45s from her room) to Sonny and Cher, The Beatles, Paul Revere and the Raiders and then I am a teenager of the 70s, so I listened to everything from Elvis to Pink Floyd. And somewhere along the road I fell in love with the age of Janis Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix…

Our ages, much farther apart than many families is why I was introduced and grew up with such a variety of music and believe is where my love of all music comes from. Of course, there are things I do not listen to, but normally it is not because it is bad music or the musicians are not talented, but rather the lyrics do not touch me in some way.

So East County musicians keep singing in my ears! Let me know where you are playing and your favorite East County venues. I’ll do my best to come and take a listen.

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Summer day care expenses can be a buzz kill for many struggling families

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 It is hard to believe it is May already. Time seems to be flying by and summer will be upon us before we know about it.

Although summer brings the hopes of beaches, vacations, lazy days and some well needed time off for many, there are many that cannot enjoy the benefits of San Diego and Southern California’s wonderful attractions.

Many single and financially struggling parents with young children face the absorbent cost of day care, camps or a combination of the two in order to continue to work, keeping a roof over the family and food on the table.

After school programs are gone, and parents of all types face the problem of what they can constructively and safely do with their children while they continue full-time jobs. Many parents live without the family support to help them get through these difficult months of the year. Leaving an only choice of paying out hundreds of dollars a month in day care expenses.

Before summer hits full swing, engage with me and the community and share the problems you face for the summer time baby blues or successful resources that you have found that make this time of year a little less financially stressful for those in need of care for their little ones too young to stay home alone.

Hopefully, many have found reliable, safe resources that are affordable for the average person that is living paycheck to paycheck. Perhaps, someone out there has a solution to this problem, as it is much larger than many think.

Thousands of families face this dilemma every year, sacrifice many things needed for necessity or recreation, just to find a safe place for their children to be during the summer months while they earn the family income.

Though I am past the stage of having to do this myself, I do understand the problem as my family raised three children, both parents working as hard as they possibly could and summer always became more stressful than enjoyable because of this. Now I watch my children, friends and colleagues struggling through the same problem, but it is even more expensive than ever.

Share your thoughts, ideas and solutions here and help here. I still do not know a solution to this problem, but just maybe, if we put our heads and thoughts together, we can offer a little respite and relief to the struggling parents of summer.

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